I can do without days like this one. What I know to try when a computer disputes me is pathetic, but it does take a little while to run through. Rather like running through my pathetic repertoire of things to try to make hellhounds eat. Also, there’s the adrenaline factor. Crashing off the internet when you’re trying to organise and then post your nightly blog provokes a rather substantial fury spike, which is slow to drain away again.*
Especially when hellhounds decide not to eat their supper.
At least there weren’t any bats.
I’m still very, very short of sleep and very, very, VERY grateful that I HAVE PHOTOS FOR TONIGHT. These are Vikki’s; I’ll put some of Cathy’s up tomorrow.
The Nice Man had asked me if I’d do a reading or a Q&A or a presentation of any kind and I said that I’d be happy to do a Q&A as a lead in to the getting out of the favourite fountain pen. The very first question was whether I was going to write a sequel to SUNSHINE. I’m out of practise. I did not immediately laugh lightly and answer some other question, which is what, when I’m in practise, I do, when someone says something punishable by instant death. I could hear the Blog Contingent going very still on the other side of the audience** and then Ajlr, BLESSHERATHOUSANDTIMES, not only asked a question, but asked an interesting question about what it’s like being a writer writing about a lot of different imaginary countries, and do they feel different–the answer to which is yes, they do. I dream about them, and I always know which one I’m in before I see the pegasus or the sashed, bridleless riders or the guy with the long teeth.
I was sufficiently unnerved by Question One that I spent most of the rest of the evening talking to the floor. This is something else I’m better at not doing when I’m in practise being an author in public. Make eye contact! I don’t want to make eye contact!
A very nice poster. Although there may be something just a little bit WRONG with the top line.
Cathy got a more comprehensive shot of it which I’ll post tomorrow. And I apologise for my look of total disbelief, but . . .
One intrepid photographer and one smiling bull terrier. Oh . . . well, the last time I saw that pink feather boa a bull terrier was wearing it.***
And book. And chocolate.# And a lovely pink knitted bag courtesy Mrs Redboots. The cables are bits of (ringing methods) Kent and Cambridge. Cathy and I were trying to figure out which was which. This should be embarrassingly easy, but somehow it isn’t, when it’s pink knitting.
That’s asssssembly line. At the end I signed all the stock that was left.## The Nice Man pulled it off the table in stacks, opened each to the title page, I scrawled, and my official Penguin minder was waiting to slap on the ‘signed by the author’ sticker### and put the completed trophy in the book cart.
More photos tomorrow. I’m going to bed. But first let me just say THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who came to Forbidden Planet last night and bought book(s), both blog readers and–er–non-blog-readers, and friends and readers known and unknown, and who generally made this not one of those occasions when I go home declaring I’m giving up this writing scam and getting a job stocking shelves at Sainsbury’s. It was good energy last night, you guys. Thanks.
* * *
* It turns out to have been the exchange. It was peculiar that both Peter and I were off the air—we’re at opposite ends of this tiny town but we’re also on different servers. I did of course ring Computer Men today, who were booked solid, it being a Friday and all, but being angelic, one might almost say seraphic, as they are^, Raphael did his remote-meddling trick after I’d wasted forty-five minutes on the phone to my server who clearly had no more clue than I did.^^ Meanwhile I’d gone off for my Friday cup of t—I mean, my music lesson, with Oisin, and he was off the air too. He was busy swearing at his server^^^ who did, however, have more of a clue than mine did, and then BT finally got its finger out, and Raphael twisted the pipe cleaners back together and . . .
^ Hey. I wonder if either of them sings?
^^ When I rang Raphael back he was positively testy. He rarely gets testy, except when other computer professionals are being morons.
^^^ Relatively speaking. Oisin does not swear the way I swear. You can still hear what he’s not saying.
** As one of them commented drily later, Not a blog reader.
*** Anyone who came to my last London signing will remember this clearly. PS: Her t shirt says Doctor Pooh.
# Several people gave me chocolate. I have no idea why.
## One of the things Forbidden Planet gets enormous points from this author for is that they made a real effort to rake in a good selection of my backlist. This is good anyway and enormously in their favour when I’m mostly as rare as hen’s teeth and reliably eating hellhounds over here. And it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, that they had a lot of stock left over to sign. It means they think they can sell it.^ I hope they’re right.
^ They do have several stores to share the burden.
### Very carefully designed to have glue that peels OFF again.
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